Toes turning Blue/Red in Winter!

Hey guys, with the cold bite of Winter comes a host of foot & ankle problems which have people coming into the clinic – a big one being chilblains / Raynaud’s syndrome.

These present with extreme temperatures in people’s toes (ie. either very hot in socks or cold all the time), numbness/itching/pain and colour changes – from fiery red to a bruised-looking black/blue.

Raynaud’s disorder & syndrome


When the small arteries (blood supply) into the toes/fingers become narrow, it stops proper blood flow into them, which can turn them white/blue/black in colour. In worse cases, pain, numbness or tingling can also occur as with chilblains. People with Raynaud’s disorder/disease are prone blood supply problems into their toes & fingers.


Chilblains (aka. Pernio)

Toes turning a pink/red colour, and often accompanied by a hot, burning or itchy sensation and puffing/swelling. In worse cases, blistering or peeling/breakdown of skin can occur as the skin becomes fragile from the inflammation & swelling.
When blood supply into the toes is restricted by cold weather, and then heat is returned: the rush of blood back into the toes can be too much for them to handle – hence, the reaction.


Causes of Chilblains


Since chilblains & Raynaud’s often go hand-in-hand (or toe-in-toe?) the treatments for them are mostly the same. The cause for both problems flaring up is often the cold, however chilblains has many other aggravating factors.


  • cold temperatures / weather 

> higher in areas that change in heat & humidity
> less likely in places that are constantly cold/freezing
> SUDDEN change back to heat

  • barefoot walking
  • clothes & shoes

> tight-fitting
> non-breathable / sweaty
> thin / lack of warmth (insulation)

  • damp/wet conditions 
  • Autoimmune diseases / conditions – eg. Lupus 
  • smoking

Getting on top of the problem!


For both of these issues there is good reason to have the cause and treatment addressed as soon as possible. 

In further videos we’re going to explore how podiatry can help treat these problems in clinic, how you can manage & prevent them at home, and what more intensive options are available.

Until next time, have fun and keep on walking!

Caelin Ling
Holistic Foot Clinic


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